What Is the EEOC?

EEOC stands for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It is the federal agency in charge of protecting employees in the US from harassment and discrimination based on a protected class such as race, religion, age, disability or gender. It interprets and enforces related federal laws such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for the federal government. Lawmakers established the EEOC in 1965 to protect workers. Read on to learn more about the EEOC and if you need help filing a claim, speak with a qualified Orange County sexual harassment lawyer.

What Does the EEOC Do?

The EEOC takes many actions to safeguard the civil rights of employees in the US. It responds to complaints, hosts hearings and mediations, administers related laws, issues new regulations, and litigates cases. It is one of the main outlets for resolution and recovery for employees in the US after facing discrimination or harassment. The EEOC enforces the terms of several federal employee rights laws.

  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • The Americans With Disabilities Act
  • The Equal Pay Act
  • The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

The EEOC interprets the language of these laws for people who file related complaints. After the federal government passes a new act, the EEOC issues regulations under the guidelines of the new legislation. It also enforces civil rights laws in workplaces throughout the US. The main way in which the EEOC helps employees is by responding to official complaints.

When Should You Contact the EEOC?

You might enlist the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s assistance if you experience sexual harassment, discrimination or assault at work. Sexual harassment and discrimination may include unwanted touching, sexual advances, requests for favors (quid pro quo), threats, intimidation, physical assault, jokes, lewd comments, offensive remarks, or any adverse employment action based on your sex or sexual orientation. If you believe you have experienced sexual harassment, go to your supervisor to file a complaint. File an official charge with the EEOC if your employer does not resolve the problem.

What Does the EEOC Claims Process Look Like?

You have the right to contact the EEOC directly to file a complaint. You may bring a charge of discrimination or harassment that requests the EEOC to take remedial action within 180 calendar days of the last incident, or within 300 days if your state has a law that also prohibits the same type of discrimination. You may file your complaint online, via mail, by telephone or in person at the nearest EEOC office. Upon receiving your complaint, the EEOC will initiate its charge-handling process.

  1. Dismiss the claim. If you do not have a valid case or if the EEOC does not have jurisdiction over the case, it will dismiss the charge.
  2. Investigate the charge. The EEOC may interview people involved, visit the workplace and gather vital information.
  3. Host a mediation. The EEOC might arrange a mediation between you, your employer and a neutral third party to try to settle the case.
  4. Litigate or give a Notice of Right to Sue. The EEOC has the option of pursuing a lawsuit on the claimant’s behalf. More often, however, the EEOC will give the claimant a Notice of Right to Sue.
  5. Remove itself from the case. Upon giving the Notice of Right to Sue, the EEOC will step back and allow the employee and his or her attorney to go up against the defendant in pursuit of a judgment award.

Filing a charge with the EEOC is a prerequisite to bringing a sexual harassment or discrimination lawsuit in most cases. You typically must file with the EEOC or with a state agency (the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing) before you can bring a lawsuit against your employer. Hire an attorney if you need help with an EEOC claim or the litigation process. A lawyer can help you work through all the aspects of your claim, including filing an official charge, while protecting your rights as a worker.